Exchange Students Playing Every Sports Season

Nobi Johnson and Parker Rosdahl




For some exchange students who have left their own friends and family behind, sports provide an opportunity to join an extracurricular where they can feel a home away from home.

Such is the case for Puyallup’s Spanish exchange student, senior Javi Sequeiro who played football and is now currently playing soccer.

“I feel really welcome; while other people on other teams didn’t even let them play because they want the American people. Our team, our friends, our family, they’re everything to us. They welcomed us since the first time and it’s amazing to have these guys in our team,” Sequeiro said.

Also feeling welcomed by coaches and teammates, Italian exchange student Mattia Parlani shares that he feels his coaches will always help in difficult situations and understand.

”I think that all the team and coaches gave us a warm welcome and if we need anything they just are there to give us advice or what we need. So I don’t feel uncomfortable or anything. They make me feel comfortable,” Parlani said.

In other countries, there are no high school sports. For exchange students that come to the United States, it’s a new experience.

”I’m from Spain and sports in the U.S. are different from Spain, looking at how little we play, so we don’t play in high school. Since there is no high school [leagues], club [league] is more competitive. There’s all the sports that are usually private and here you play high school leagues and that’s probably the big difference,” Sequeiro said.

Although there are no high school sports in other countries, Sequeiro compares the level high school sports play at is similar to the level played at club soccer in Spain.

”What I really like about these teams [are] that they’re super competitive. I would compare it to an academy in Spain soccer. I mean it’s not that hard but it’s like the same situation where you have to make the team. In varsity it’s like a really good level and you have to be good enough to make the squad and keep the effort everyday,” Sequeiro said.

Parlani played for the water polo and soccer teams and was the manager for the boys basketball team. He enjoyed the time making new friends and being a part of a team that placed at state.

”I played water polo and it was fun even if I have never played before but I learned a lot of new things and made a lot of good friends. During winter, I was a manager of the basketball team. It was fun, the team was very good and [had] good guys, [placing] sixth in state. It was a great experience,” Parlani said.

Sequeiro also played in a sport that placed at in a state competition, football, and is now playing alongside Parlani for the boys varsity soccer team.

”I played football during spring, I was in the roster but didn’t really play a lot but it was super fun just to practice with the guys and watching the games at the sidelines and we have a great year so it was amazing to go ahead in the state tournament,” Sequeiro said.